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UK prospects Tom O’Brien and Jack Temple speak to MMA Latest

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Following a recent ICE FC event, MMA Latest spoke with two top UK MMA prospects; Tom O’Brien (3-1, pro) and Jack Temple (4-1, amateur) to discuss fighting for ICE FC, fighting out of Neil Hall’s Allegiance MMA and the sport in general on the UK regional MMA scene.


So Jack you’ve now fought twice under the ICE FC banner, and Tom once- they’re a fast-growing promotion on the UK MMA scene and in April they announced themselves as the World Series of Fighting’s official UK representatives. Is this exciting for you guys as fighters and are you hoping to fight at an ICE FC event again?

Jack Temple: I’d love to fight for ICE again, the World Series of Fighting news is pretty cool and it’s a good opportunity for everybody as a lot more people around the world are going to get to see it.

Tom O’Brien: Of course yeah, even before that partnership I thought they were a good promotion already and it’s just added something to them.

Do you feel like there is a benefit to these Pro-Am MMA events consisting of both professional and amateur bouts?

TOB: Yeah absolutely, from being on the amateur side of things in the past it was always nice to stay around and then watch the pros, to see that level and watch the other guys at work.

JT: Definitely, it gives you something to aspire to and something to aim for, even wanting to impress the pros on the same card with you, it’s always a good event watching the pros on the main card with an amateur undercard.

I felt like you both have a similar style in your stand up, very fluid and relaxed. MMA fans would recognise Allegiance head coach Neil Hall as a referee at some of the biggest UK events, what’s he like to train under, and is that style something cultivated at Allegiance MMA?

JT: It is, it’s the way that we all train together. I came in with a kickboxing background which was probably a lot different to the way these guys trained and Tom always had quite a fluid style anyway and he’s my main sparring partner. We had another teammate win on the same night on a show in Halifax who has come in with the same sort of style and won his last two by stoppage- it’s definitely a bit of an Allegiance style.

TOB: Yeah, definitely. I mean, Neil Hall is very open-minded, he’s done every martial art you could think of, so there’s not a technique lost on him to be honest. If we’ve got an idea we’ll share it and see if it works or not and I think that’s where that style comes from for me and Jack.

JT: He’s quite an intimidating man to begin with! But he’s a great guy like, he just has so much knowledge about martial arts in general. His main areas are sort of sambo and wrestling, all gritty stuff that’s just meant to hurt you. In Jiu Jitsu everything’s meant to be smooth but in sambo even in the transitions everything is meant to be painful and that’s quite an interesting way of looking at things. Even his striking style is a nasty, hard, strong striking style and he’s got a background in things like sport karate as well. It’s good, his way of thinking is very cool.

Tom that’s 3 TKO/KO stoppage victories in a row for you now, the most recent stoppage a TKO via leg-kicks. You don’t see many stoppages via leg-kicks, is that something you’ve done before?

TOB: Definitely, my leg-kick game is always on point and I pride myself on that in the gym, always working on them, they’re one of my favourite weapons to be honest.

You came into MMA from a rugby background, has that helped in any way? Do any skills cross over? Takedowns?

TOB: Definitely, as you say with the wrestling. I use it more defensively nowadays but my wrestling is, as British standard goes I’d say it’s probably up there, you know.

Jack, as an amateur you’re 4-1 with four first round finishes, most in less than a minute. Are you looking to switch to pro soon? And you’re coming off 3 fights in 3 months, when you do go pro do you want to keep up that pace?

JT: The plan was for another win in July then another win in August before turning professional, so we’ll see how the next two go- if I win the next two well, hopefully, I’ll turn professional later this year but it’s a bit up in the air with injuries at the moment. I’ve had all 5 of my fights since December of last year, I’d had injuries before that so once I got fit I just wanted to rack them up and get going so whenever they’ve rung up and offered a fight I’ve said yes every time- I’m in the gym all the time anyway and get bored if I don’t fight.

Your opponent in your last fight missed weight by around 4 lbs and obviously as it’s an amateur fight there’s no purse deduction awarded to you, how do you feel about that?

JT: I thought it was unprofessional, it was slightly annoying but it never made me think about taking the fight or not, it didn’t matter to me, I thought it might just make him more tired. He had a reasonable excuse for missing weight but in the end, it doesn’t matter.

In 2015 we saw a boom in MMA with Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey, did you notice more people joining the gym?

TOB: Probably not as you’d think, more coming in for the grappling side of things to be honest. A lot more grapplers are coming in recently but I don’t know if that’s down to them or not.

JT: Yes and no- we’re sort of in a hard position where we’ve got some guys at a level where they’re actively fighting and we’ve got beginners who come and go- beginners always come and go and we haven’t got many guys in the gap in between. We’ve got the beginners and then we’ve got the fight team, and that gap makes it hard for the beginners to keep coming in. I’ve seen a lot of people showing more interest in MMA but not in the sense of actually coming in to the gym. People just seem to know more about what’s going on in MMA now though.

ICE’s next event, ICE FC 16 is on June 18th at the Temple Park Centre in South Shields.

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Exclusive: Derek Brunson: “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up”

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Derek Brunson fought Anderson Silva back in February of this year, at UFC 208. Brunson would go on to lose the fight by controversial unanimous decision. However, the controversies didn’t stop at the questionable decision, Brunson also claims Silva was greasing during the fight. The Wilmington, North Carolina native, posted about it on Twitter a few days ago:

Speaking with MMA Latest, Brunson explained why he believes Silva was greasing during the fight. “Anderson was definitely a little lubed up. Every time I grabbed him he was just slipping out of everything, and his takedown defense was really good that night. I was definitely curious to know why he was very slippery, which I definitely think he had some kind of substance on his body. He knows I’m a wrestler obviously, he’s an old, savvy veteran, so he was definitely trying to play all the rules and be very strategic, and make it harder for a wrestler to grab him.”

Brunson is set to face Lyoto Machida come October 28, when asked about whether he was worried about Machida greasing, considering Gegard Mousasi accused him of doing so in their fight, Brunson admitted he wasn’t too worried.

Well I’m not too worried, but like I said, I put it out there because I know they’re friends and I know, obviously, that’s kind of what the guys do when they know they’re fighting a wrestler. They want to lube their body up really good to make it hard to grab hold, Anderson did a great job defending my takedowns. It’s because he was all greased up so he was able to stop a lot of them. When I grab guys in the clinch, it’s very tough for them to get away and I’m pretty good with my Greco takedown. He was pretty much pulling through my clinch when I had a tight grip on him and if you have some kind of substance on your body it’s easy to pull them.”

Neither Silva nor his management have commented on the greasing allegations. Anderson Silva makes his return against Kelvin Gastelum later this year, in China. While Brunson makes his return to the Octagon on October 28th, in Brazil, where he looks to add Lyoto Machida’s name to his impressive list of victories.

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Ovince Saint Preux Steps in to Face Corey Anderson at UFC 217

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UFC 217 just got even more interesting. Earlier this week, Patrick Cummins pulled out of his light heavyweight matchup with Corey Anderson due to a Staph infection. Corey “Overtime” Anderson was not happy with his opponents decision, even calling out his opponent on Instagram asking how Cummins could, “call it quits so far from fight night”.

The UFC left Anderson on the card, and he found an opponent through the magic of Twitter. Ovince Saint Preux tweeted out directly to Anderson stating:

It didn’t take long for Anderson to respond agreeing to the fight, tagging Mick Maynard and Dana White in his response.

Only a few short hours later, the fight announcement came from the official UFC twitter account.

 

This top 10 Light Heavyweight matchup should add to an already amazing card coming in November at Madison Square Garden. Saint Preux is coming off of back to back wins both due to the very rare von flue choke, he finds himself ranked #7th in the latest edition of the 205-pound rankings. Corey “Overtime” Anderson is 4-2 in his last 6 fights, but is coming off a brutal first round knockout loss to Jimi Manuwa in March.

With such a exciting fight added to this card, what do you see happening November 4th?  Will Corey Anderson bounce back and look to jump into the top 5 of the rankings, or will Ovince Saint Preux go for a third straight von flue choke? Let us know.

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*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results

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Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.

Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.

Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)

Main Card:

Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)

Preliminary Card:

Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)

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